California parents of teenage drivers may want to think twice before allowing them to drive with their peers in the car. Studies show that a teen passenger’s presence in a car driven by a teenager raises fatal crash risks, should that teen driver wind up in an accident.
Per AAA Newsroom, while teen passengers raise the risk of death in a car crash for the teen driver and the other occupants in the vehicle, they also raise the risk of a fatality for everyone else involved in the incident.
How teen passengers impact fatality rates
When a teen has a teen passenger along for the ride and winds up in a crash, the teen passenger’s presence makes the teenage driver 45% more likely to die in the accident. The risks are even more notable for drivers and passengers in cars not driven by the teenager. These individuals become 56% more likely to die because the teen driver had a teen passenger in the car. Any bicyclists or pedestrians involved in the accident with the teen driver face a 17% higher chance of a fatality because of the teen passenger’s presence.
Why teen passengers may impact fatality rates
Teenagers are more susceptible to driver distraction than older motorists who have more experience, and other teenagers are a frequent source of distraction among young drivers. Teens also lack behind-the-wheel experience through no fault of their own, but this makes the less likely to know how to react and avoid a crash.
Notably, when teen drivers have passengers in their vehicles who are 35 or older, the passenger’s presence actually lowers the risk of a fatality resulting from a crash by 8%.